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Ledge – “Blacked Out” (Song Premiere)

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John Hoffman possesses one of the most instantly recognizable voices in metal. Best known as the frontman for recently disbanded (and already sorely missed) Chicago powerviolence legends Weekend Nachos, his trademark enraged bellow scarcely seems like something that could emanate from his wiry frame. There’s much more to Hoffman than just that voice, though: he’s also played drums or bass for an assortment of other Windy City bands, including a stint with muscular (pun intended) hardcore outfit Harms Way at the beginning of their careers.

Cold Hard Concrete is Hoffman’s second release with his solo project Ledge since Weekend Nachos played their final shows in January (and third overall), following a split back in February with abrasive, claustrophobic drone/sludge trio Disrotted. While his contribution to that split, the nine-plus minute “Lost Soul,” was an exercise in slow, corrosive doom a la Primitive Man, the forthcoming full-length hews a bit closer to the sludgier tracks that closed out the last few Weekend Nachos albums, especially “Unforgivable” from the album of the same name.

Hoffman handles all of the drums, bass, and vocals on Cold Hard Concrete, as well as the artwork, and it couldn’t be a more perfect opening salvo for his post-Nachos musical career. Most of the songs on the record have their roots in hardcore; the album as a whole feels far from one-dimensional. Whether it’s the old-school NYHC stomp of “Through Your Skull,” the feedback-drenched crawl of “Disappearing God,” the more up-tempo Ringworm-style beatdown of “Fuck Yourself, ” or the massive, Bongripper-esque despair of “Last Shred of Hope,” there’s more than enough variety among tracks to keep listeners engaged for the album’s 33-minute duration. And, of course, atop sits Hoffman’s inimitable vocals in all their misanthropic glory.

“Blackout,” which we’re premiering below, might rank as the most straightforwardly aggressive song on Cold Hard Concrete, with its grinding, anxiety-inducingly heavy second half. When asked both about the track and the record as a whole, Hoffman said:

“Blacked Out” is a song I wrote about this dude who we talked to in the parking lot of a Red Lobster once. We couldn’t find the venue that we were playing at and he was maybe the least helpful person I’ve ever met. I ripped off my favorite Full Of Hell part on this song, but Andy [Nelson, ex-Weekend Nachos, who also plays guitar on the album], the engineer, didn’t notice so I doubt anyone else will.
Cold Hard Concrete is a pretty hateful album, personal at times, with songs about mistrust, self-loathing, and bitterness toward people. “Blacked Out” plays on the idea that if you can’t count on someone to be there for you, then there’s no point calling them a friend. If someone neglects you in life, they’re just like everybody else in the world at that point.

Cold Hard Concrete will be available on August 25, and can be preordered on LP/CD/Digital via Translation Loss Records and on cassette by Hibernation Release.

Follow Ledge on Bandcamp.

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